City worker dies in Middletown incident - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

City worker dies in Middletown incident

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email

MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - A city worker has died and three firefighters are injured after an incident in Middletown.

"This is a profoundly sad say in the city of Middletown," said the Middletown City Manager Judy Gilleland. 

Investigators say Jabin Lakes, 31, a Middletown public works employee, was working on a sewer line in a manhole in the 2500 block of Yankee Road around 8 a.m. Friday morning.

"Jabin was employed by the city for a little over a year, he was 31 years old and was a valued member of the public works department," said Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan.

Lakes was overcome by fumes and fell -- emergency crews responded to the scene to rescue him. The first firefighter who was lowered in the hole, Capt. Todd Wissemeier, was also overcome.

"The oxygen level there was at less than 2 percent, again we don't know what else is in there, something is in there," said Maj. Mark Hoffman of the Middletown Police Department.

 A firefighter who was holding a rope that was lowering Capt. Wissemeier, Fire Marshal Bob Hess, was also overcome.

"There mission that day was to go in, open up a line, run a camera down in the line and then clean it out," Hoffman said.

Wissemeier, a 20-year-veteran of the department, was taken to Miami Valley Hospital. Hess, a 19-year veteran was taken to Atrium Medical Center. A third firefighter, Fireman Tom Allen,  a 17-year veteran, was also injured. He was treated and released from the hospital.

Crews are still investigating what happened, but say the oxygen level in the manhole was less than two percent. A normal oxygen level is 21 percent.

Police say there is no threat to anyone in the area.

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